Online Bachelor Degrees

COLLEGE FINDER

Article Sources

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Intro to Bachelor's Degrees

If you want both the knowledge of a broad education and the expertise of a specific field, then a bachelor's degree — also known as a "baccalaureate" — could be right for you. Bachelor's degree programs typically take four years to complete and require general education courses followed by courses tied to a degree. This degree level helps students to learn skills in a specific field, or "major," such as business or information technology or sociology. In general, bachelor's degree programs:

  • Are offered through colleges or universities
  • Require core coursework in broad fields — like English, math and science — as well as courses specific to the major
  • Can be relevant to a variety of careers, from criminal justice to information technology to social science
  • May require an internship or field experience

Students who have already earned an associate degree are generally at an advantage when it comes to completing a bachelor's degree program. Many schools accept transfer courses from one degree level to the next, allowing students to build on the skills they developed during their associate program and complete a four-year degree program in less time.

Benefits of Earning an Online Bachelor's Degree

A person might choose to pursue a bachelor's degree for any number of personal motivations. Some of the more common reasons to earn a bachelor's degree include:

  • Lower unemployment rate: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that people who have earned a bachelor's degree have a lower unemployment rate than individuals who have only completed an associate degree, some college education or a high school diploma (BLS.gov.)
  • Higher weekly pay on average: People who have earned a bachelor's degree have weekly average earnings that are higher on average than those with associate degrees or just a high school diploma. In fact, people with bachelor's degrees earn an average $400 more per week than those solely having a high school diploma (BLS.gov).
  • Flexibility: Online bachelor's degree programs make it possible to attend class from your own home, on a break at work, or elsewhere, such as from your favorite coffee shop or library. Sometimes this can allow a student to take classes they would otherwise be unable to reach in time; sometimes, the time a student saves on commuting can be used to take an accelerated program they would otherwise be too busy to handle.

Earning a bachelor's degree can be particularly important if:

  • ...you would like to begin a career that requires a bachelor's degree for an entry-level position. Accounting, computer systems analysis, engineering, K-12 teaching and personal finance are all good examples of careers you can typically only do after earning a bachelor's in a related field.
  • ...you intend to pursue a career that requires a graduate degree for an entry-level position. For example, you'd need to earn at least a master's degree to become an attorney, and it's unlikely you'd be able to earn a master's without first completing a baccalaureate. Generally, there are specific undergraduate degree programs that students complete in order to prepare for the next step of their education — to continue our example, as an aspiring attorney, you might decide to earn your bachelor's degree in criminal justice as a stepping stone for enrolling in law school afterwards.

Rankings

Quality and affordability are both important characteristics when it comes to deciding on a college. Let's look at some rankings of the best online colleges for both of these categories. In case you would prefer to see online colleges ranked on other relevant factors — such as religious affiliation or nonprofit status — our Top Colleges Tool can help you do so.

Best 4-Year Colleges with Online Bachelor's Degree Programs

Using a methodology that ranks colleges based on net price, available career services, number of online programs and more, we bring to you our ranking of the five best online colleges offering online bachelor's degree programs.

College NameTuition & Fees/Year
Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Distance Education Participation
Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Number of Online Programs Offered
Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
Overall Score
University of Florida$6,38158.66%61100
American Public University System$6,880100.00%15499.94484
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus$17,90033.39%8099.88969
Liberty University$21,29289.45%9299.834526
Regis University$34,45065.18%7799.77937

Most Affordable 4-Year Colleges with Online Bachelor's Degree Programs

This list details the five four-year online colleges offering online bachelor's degree programs that have the lowest tuition costs and fees in the U.S.

College NameTuition & Fees/Year
Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Distance Education Participation
Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Number of Online Programs Offered
Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
Overall Score
University of the People$1,000100.00%41.3237728
United States Merchant Marine Academy$1,1672.48%110.645339
University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras$2,0780.03%135.576393
Turtle Mountain Community College$2,25032.71%440.76117
Great Basin College$2,91082.71%5096.08384
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